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Tunisia economy at risk - central bank

05 September 2013, 15:26

Tunis - Tunisia's political crisis, triggered in July by the assassination of an opposition MP, is threatening the fundamentals of the country's economy "more than ever", the central bank has warned.

Since the assassination on 25 July of secular MP Mohamed Brahmi, Tunisian politics has been paralysed by a standoff between supporters of moderate Islamist party Ennahda, which heads the coalition government, and the opposition.

"The exacerbation of tensions in the national political arena threatens the security and fundamentals of the national economy more than ever," the bank said on Wednesday evening afer a meeting of its board of directors.

"The board again called on all the stakeholders to multiply their efforts to restore stability in the country, which remains the key factor in reviving economic activity, in consolidating foreign and domestic investment and promoting employment."

A broad coalition of opposition parties are demanding the government's immediate resignation, while Ennahda is insisting on reaching a consensus on key political issues, notably the new constitution, before accepting the formation of a non-partisan administration.

The central bank highlighted the "persistence of risks" for the Tunisian economy, with the crisis heightening uncertainty and visibility in the economic sector.

"This situation is reflected by Tunisia's global competitiveness rating falling from 40th in 2011-2012 to 83rd in 2013-2014, according to the last report from the Davos [World Economic] Forum," it said.

Tunisia's economic problems were driving factors behind the revolution in January 2011.

Last week the government revised down its 2013 growth forecast for the second time, to 3.6 percent, while official statistics showed the Tunisian dinar losing 15 percent of its value against the euro in the first half of the year.



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